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Appeal

Million Iranian march
How about 13 days after Norooz (April 3, 2004)?

By Amil Imani
July 30, 2003
The Iranian

Walter Lippmann in his essay A preface to Morals, said: "The thinker dies, but his thoughts are beyond the reach of destruction. Men are mortal, but ideas are immortal. Justice William O. Douglas said, " Ideas are indeed the most dangerous weapons in the world. Our ideas of freedom are the most powerful political weapons man has ever forged."

Martin Luther King envisioned the very same idea. His idea about a very large demonstration came at a time when America was burning with racial fever. King said, "We are on a breakthrough...We need a mass protest to validate our efforts". On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr., on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., stood tall and brave. He gave his most memorable speech, "I Have a Dream," which has become one of the best known public addresses of 20th century America and remains one of the great moments of modern oratory. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on that day to let the world hear the voice and aspirations of black America for a free and equal America. His idea of a peaceful, mass demonstration forever registered him in history books as an idealist with a passion for justice, liberty, and freedom for all Americans.

A few decades later, and much similar to King's version of a mass demonstration, Min. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, mobilized an historic one million African-American men on the mall on the West Side of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The purpose of such a huge and massive "Million Man March" was to advocate for the "unity, atonement and brotherhood" of black America.

They were asked to pledge " to clean up their lives and rebuild their neighborhoods." One person said, "When a crisis comes, people will come together, but after the crisis subsides they go back to division." Another witness said, "Our problem was not coming together but in staying together. What the Million Man March has done is produce staying power."

The foundation of these marches on Washington goes back to a 1941 initiative by A. Philip Randolph, a labor activist and civil rights pioneer. "Randolph had organized the original March on Washington Movement, which was designed to pressure President Roosevelt to guarantee jobs for black men and women in the wartime armament industries. The 1941 march was canceled at the last moment when Roosevelt capitulated to the demands and issued the first executive order protecting African-American rights since the Emancipation Proclamation."

In all these massive marches and movements, the struggle for freedom and justice and liberty, in a peaceful manner, distinguished these men in their time. It is their passion and struggle for the love of equality that has made them icons in the eyes of millions of people around the world. It was the doctrine of love and nonviolence and their commitment to eradicate all forms of prejudices, injustices, and crimes committed against humanity that propelled these men to arise and lead the fight for the freedom.

My fellow freedom loving compatriots abroad, our fellow Iranian brothers and sisters in Iran are struggling, at this very moment, for their simple and basic human rights. They are held in the same manner that the black-America was being held hostage, in a land where they were born and labored. Justice and liberty are what should excite and inspire us to do the right thing.

The recent mass demonstration on July 9, 2003 (18 Tir) in support of freedom movements in most cities in Iran and in more than ninety-five countries worldwide, showed that Iranians are capable of such universal, simultaneous gatherings and organizations and thirsty to liberate their country. It also showed us that we are still at the beginning of our learning process of coming together and uniting our forces.

We, Iranians, are known among ourselves for being individualists who lack the spirit of teamwork. In some instances this characteristic may work to our advantage, but in the case of obliterating the rein of terror in our homeland, it strongly backfires against us. It will be impossible to eradicate the seeds of evil from our land, without a united force of all segments of Iranians.

My fellow compatriots, we need to learn to work together now. We need to advance this process quickly and reach to the next phase of our destiny. We must strive, seek, and struggle to achieve what always seemed unachievable, and with great emotional intensity and love for our country, do what it seemed undoable. We need to gather our strength together and lean on each other's shoulders, all the way across the ocean, in order to become a beacon of unity and oneness.

The first step towards our unity is to go beyond skepticism and open our hearts to one another in this noble act of freeing our fellow countrymen from the hands of those who are merciless, brutal, and without the slightest passion or compassion for their fellow human beings.

We must not allow our bitterness towards one group, one segment, or one party to cloud our mission of liberating our country. " Freedom is obtained not by the enjoyment of what is desired but by controlling desire itself." Let us not allow revenge to become our guiding light in pursuing our mission, but fill our hearts with love and sincerity and sensibility to make certain that we don't repeat history. "Nothing is little to him that feels it with his great sensibility."

My fellow freedom loving Iranians, the time to rise to the occasion is NOW. It is now that can make a difference. It is now that we must come together and make our marks in the history books. It is now that we must come together as massive force to show the world that Iranians were the pioneers of civilization and we would like to take our torch back since we started it some 2500 years ago. The time to excel and forge our strength is now.

So, my dear Iranians across the world and especially those who reside in North America, I would like to make a motion. I would like to announce my proposal for a One Million Iranian Men and Women and Children March to be held in the same manner and on the same spot where Martin Luther King gave his historical speech. The demonstrators can gather both at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. We can set the stage for entertainment by our vocalists to sing our patriotic songs and our national anthem. There are close to two million Iranians who live in the North America and I believe this massive demonstration is feasible and conducive to our cause.

The cause of such massive demonstration and participation will be in support of freedom and liberty for our countrymen in Iran. It will be for the Iranian UNITY that we have always craved. It will be for all the prisoners of conscience who are being held and tortured by the Islamic Republic for loving their country. It will be for thousands of innocent Iranians who died at the hands of the villains and for the hundreds upon hundreds of other reasons.

At the venue, we will declare these statements and many more:

1- Our continual support for Liberty and Justice for all Iranians

2- Our unconditional support for Iranian Freedom Movement

3- Our support of the unconditional Freedom of all the Political Prisoners

4- Freedom of Speech and Conscience

5- Freedom of the press and public media

6- Equal Rights regardless of gender

7- Freedom of Religion

8- Separation of State and Religion

9- Condemnation of Islamic punishment, stoning to death and execution in Iran

10- Complete banning of any interference in an individual's private life, under any pretext

11- Condemnation of the Islamic Republic for the suppression of women and the compulsory wearing of the "Hejab."

If this proposal receives the anticipated attention, we will need many volunteers and organizers and substantial financial help to proceed with this once in a lifetime chance for lovers of Iran and Iranians to come together in the spirit of brotherhood. Logistically, we can work this out together. I await your responses and your comments. The designated time for this occasion, in my opinion, should be at the 13 days after Norooz, (April 3, 2004), when traditionally, all Iranians go out of their homes in a celebration of the new year. This date can be changed and discussed among ourselves since there is still time left to plan.

At King's memorable speech, "a young black man in a white shirt and tie wrote on his sign 'There Would Be More of Us Here But So Many of Us Are in Jail, Freedom Now'." Yes, so many of our young and old compatriots are spending time in the notorious Evin prison without being able to speak for themselves. I believe a march is the least we can do, as Iranians, to support them. Never underestimate the power the masses.

Over half the people who have begun to mobilize for the march have never demonstrated nor protested before. I am confident that WE can do this. We can do this together, if we put our hearts into it, and send major shock waves right into the hearts of the Ayatollahs of the Islamic Republic.

Together we can cause them to realize our everlasting commitment to liberty, justice, and freedom for all Iranians.

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